Fiction Analysis: Poetry
To interpret poems properly, it is important to ask yourself certain questions. Here is a step-by-step plan for analyzing a poem.
- The closing sentence is often surprising.
- Lots of white on the page
- Feelings play a big role
- The writer says a lot with few words
- There is no time lapse
- Lots of imagery
- Many figures of speech
A poem is made up of stanzas
Stanzas: related verses in a poem. (paragraph)
- Distichon (2 lines)
- Terzine (3 lines)
- Quatrain (4 lines)
- Quintet (5 lines)
Some poems have a specific structure such as:
Sonnet: two stanzas of 4 lines (quatrains) followed by two stanzas of 3 lines (terzinen)
Line of verse, sentence, enjambement:
- Relationship between line of verse and sentence is important!
- End line = end sentence
- Sentence continues on next line, but end line = of course pause or comma
- Sentence continues on next line but end line does not coincide with a pause there is an unexpected hyphenation of the sentence = enjambement
- With closed poems difficult to discover (much use is made of symbolism), with open poems clear.
- Theme is often abstract and general
- Important life questions.
- Poems about poetry. (poetical poems)
Rhyme type and rhyme scheme
- Alliteration (opening rhyme), rhyming the first letters of a word: Liesje taught Lotje to walk along the long Lindelaan. / Salt sea water.
- End rhyme
- Masculine end rhyme: last stressed syllable rhymes: wind / child or remorse / woman or school bag / atlas
- Feminine end rhyme: final stressed and unstressed syllables rhyme: search / books or winter clothes / teddy bears
- Sliding ending rhyme: last stressed and 2 unstressed syllables rhymes: children / hinder
- Double rhyme, one word rhymes with two words or two words rhyme with two words: earth / to the or from stone / then none
- Assonance (vowel rhyme), only the vowels need to have the same sound (seems like it doesn’t rhyme at all): ball / pan or weird / done feel / book
- Inner rhyme, rhyme words within one sentence: With pleasure we toil on.
- Rhythm; aaaa
- Paired rhyme; aabbcc
- Crossed rhyme; abab
- Embracing rhyme; abba
- Broken rhyme; abcb (abac)
- Staggered rhyme; abcabc
- Comparison with if / of: similarity between two things, both are mentioned and connected by the words like or of or by a verb form of being or corpse (as green as grass / a man’s tree / your room is like a garbage dump / he is a real gentlemen)
- Equation without if / of: similarity between two things, both are named and connected by a comma. (Piet, the class joker, is moving)
- Metaphor: similarity between two things but not both are mentioned, only the image remains (what a rubbish dump! ??. The left out imagined = your room ??)
- Metonymia: there is no similarity but a connection between two things, not both are mentioned but only the image is mentioned. For context you can think of: part-whole (he no longer has a roof over his head) / cause-effect (she has lost her tongue) / means-goal / maker-object (there is a Rembrandt hanging above my fireplace) / object content (you probably still like a glass) / residents (Rotterdam is in turmoil), etc.
- Personification: an abstract concept or something from nature is presented as a person or is given personal characteristics. (the disease got a hold of him) (the trees whisper) (the sun smiles at us)
Figures of speech
- Repetition: The same is said again in the same wording. (beautiful very beautiful)
- Tautology: The same is said again but in different words. (surely)
- Pleonasm: by means of an adjective, a property is mentioned that the noun already possesses. (beautiful, green grass)
- Leading: By putting words first, they get more emphasis. (That book, I want to read that again!)
- Inversion: the order of the phrases is changed. (I saw him yesterday at the disco / yesterday I saw him at the disco ?? emphasis is on yesterday)
- Summary: a number of things are listed in sequence.
- Climax: the list has a strengthening effect. (whisper, talk, shout)?
- Antithesis (contradiction): two things are contrasted. (the first CD was great but the second was horrible)
- Paradox (apparent contradiction): it appears to be a contradiction but it is not. (by being silent, he tells me a lot)
- Hyperbole (exaggeration): something is being amplified and exaggerated. (he is very annoyed)
- Understatement: Saying something in a watered-down way that you want it to be reinforced. (he put his head on the railroad when a train arrived)
- Euphemism: Say something in a soothing way. (they put the dog to sleep)
- Irony: Mild ridicule, often the reverse of what is said. It is not really meant to be hurtful.
- Sarcasm: harsh form of ridicule, often meant to be hurtful.